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Fire Tanker

How do Air Tankers drop their slurry/fire retardant?

Also how much flaps do the Air Fire Tankers use when dropping the slurry/fire retardant? How fast do the Go when dropping the slurry/fire retardant? What rules are there about dropping the slurry/fire retardant?

Depends on the aircraft. For several years I flew one of the "airtac" communication aircraft (different from a lead plane) orbiting the fire, carrying the aerial "fire boss" who coordinated the aircraft and ground personnel, and directed where the drops were made. I can't recall the ideal drop height but as I recall it was around 300-400 feet. If the borate is dropped too high the retardant disperses over too wide an area with no effect; too low and it doesn't disperse enough and can literally knock down trees and destroy small buildings (one generally doesn't drop in close proximity to houses however). Same thing with airspeed: too fast and the stuff atomizes too much and has little or no effect. Too slow and it doesn't properly atomize, plus the aircraft is in danger of stalling. As I recall, the target airspeed was around 130 knots, give or take about 10. That's pretty slow for most of those aircraft except the small SEATS, especially in a descent, so they often drop with gear down and full flaps to avoid going too fast and blowing the drop. Again, for speed and altitude and other procedures, it depends wholly on the type of plane doing the drop. As for rules, there are plenty regarding safety, such as being sure the people on the ground are clear of the drop zone, but within the TFR very few FAR's apply that would apply to normal aircraft. Whatever it takes to get the job done within the limits of reasonable safety is fair game. In class B, C and D airspace, ATC gives slurry bombers priority over most other traffic, except critical medevac flights.

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